Surprising award highlights abilities

Rachel Mills

Review staff writer


Professor Garry Killgore was named Oregon Teacher of the Year at the college and   university level during the 2008 Oregon Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance state conference Oct 10.

While Killgore said he is honored to receive the award, he is also surprised.

“That is not why I teach,” he said. “I teach to encourage my students. If I can help  others have a richer life because of me, that makes everything worthwhile.”

This quality is what makes Killgore a great teacher, junior Shawn Fisher said. Killgore coached Fisher in both cross country and track for three years, and Fisher has seen his coach in a  variety of roles: professor, coach, business owner and founder; and researcher. Fisher said Killgore’s ability to fill these roles and still be prepared to help students in need makes him a professor who students can trust.

“[Killgore] is always willing to work with you,”  junior Todd Peterson said. “I’ve never had a professor willing to put in as much time and attention to help his students learn what they need to learn.”

Peterson said Killgore always makes time for his students. He has been known to help students even when he is coaching or working with athletes in the pool.

Peterson, presently taking two classes with Killgore, has seen this tendency outside the classroom, as well.

“Although [Killgore] is the cross country and track coach, he works with all athletes, no matter their sport,” Peterson said. “He applies his knowledge to help them recover from injuries or improve their play.”

Killgore has been working to develop that expertise for years. He has been a teacher for more than 25 years and is currently in his 20th year at Linfield. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Oregon State University and held teaching positions at Linn-Benton Community         College, OSU and was a substitute teacher in the Corvallis and Albany areas  before coming to Linfield.

While at Linfield, Killgore has done significant research on the physiology and biomechanics of deep-water running styles.

“All the research I do is about using water to help injuries heal faster,” Killgore said.

He has been researching the use of water for fitness and rehabilitation for athletes, and his discoveries led to his invention of the first deep-water running shoe. Killgore is now
owner and founder of AQX Sports, a company designed to manufacture and sell the shoes he invented.

Despite his successes, Killgore said that his favorite moments are still the “lightbulb moments” when he sees a student understand a concept for the first time.

“That’s the cat’s meow for me,” Killgore said. “In my classes, students have to work  for answers; I don’t hand-deliver. They have to be responsible for making connections and digging  for answers. When they do, that’s a good moment.”

Killgore said he also enjoys showing students how to better use science and how to apply their
studies in everyday life.

“He is so knowledgeable in so many aspects of athletics,” Peterson said. “But he gets to the important information, teaches it to us so we understand and makes it applicable to the real world.”

He said he is extremely knowledgeable in a cross-disciplinary way, working with departments outside his own.

“At Linfield, that is exactly what our department is trying to accomplish,” Peterson said.

Having received this award, Killgore will move on to compete for the Northwest District Alliance  for Healthy, Physical Science, Recreation and Dance Teacher of the Year at the college and university level, which will be announced in August.

“[Killgore] gets excited when he sees someone succeed,” junior Tyler Davis, a      cross country and track athlete, said. “He likes to see us accomplish our goals.”

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